Under suspicion

A new drug policy permitting drug tests with reasonable suspicion has been introduced to SHS


Kelsey Jones

As of Feb. 1, 2020, students can be drug tested under reasonable suspicion.

At SHS, there has never been a tolerance for drugs on campus, now a randomized drug test by administration is going to tighten that rule even more. Students caught with drugs or under the influence before the new policy had to deal with the consequences of suspensions or expulsion. Although, catching students under the influence was unlikely because there was no solid way to prove a student is using drugs, and this new policy is to confirm suspicions. 

A new drug policy was introduced to Perry Township permitting drug tests with reasonable suspicion. According to Principal Brian Knight, this policy had been discussed for a while but became effective as of Feb. 1, 2020. The drug testing was a result of previously not being able to prove students were under the influence, thus being unable to hand out proper punishments or help.

“Prior to this, there was no testing policy for students that were showing signs, but now this allows us to have a way to test students,” Vice Principal A.J. Martzall said.

Teachers alone cannot make the decision for a drug test. Two administrators must also make the decision after the student is sent down to the office. According to Knight, students have the right to deny the drug tests but that will lead administration to further believe students are under the influence of drugs. A kid that has been brought in to be believed to be under the influence but denies taking a test will automatically default themselves to be under the influence.

Since all students can be tested for drugs if they show the right signs, Martzall says this isn’t going to be a targeted policy.

“There’s a process to reasonable suspicion,” Martzall said. “This is not randomized drug testing, and administration can’t just allow fingers to be pointed.” 

Sophomore Kaylee Combs believes the new policy is fair and will be easier to implement.

“Under reasonable suspicion, it’s fair to all students, and it’s a more logical way for school administrators to test,” Combs said.

The school will be providing funding for the drug testing kits that will be given to the  students to test with. The procedure consists of students using the kits that will be provided for them and completing the test on school grounds. The cost of the kits are low and the lab tests are about $25, the total cost rounding to about $28-30, costs will be covered by the school.The kit includes a swab used to rub the cheeks of the mouth. It is then placed in a little tube in the kit. Once testing is complete, the kits will be sent to Witham Toxicology Laboratory, and results will be back within 24 hours. 

According to Knight, drug testing is not intended to be a way to find kids under the influence of drugs and attack anyone particular student. It is meant to find students who might have substance abuse issues and provide them with services to help. Though helping them with substance abuse is the goal, the students in question won’t just be walking away with warnings. Depending on severity, they will still receive suspensions, fines and possibly expulsions.  

“With randomized drug testing, we want to help families help their students determine whether their actions were just a mistake or whether it’s serious issues that need outside services.” Martzall said.